On 7 June next, Ireland will vote to select 14 people to represent the country in the European Parliament.

It seems a tiny number when you consider there will be 720 MEPs in total.

But Ireland has consistently punched above its weight in the EU’s parliamentary chamber, with MEPs forging alliances across the various political groupings they sit in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Voting records

Here, we look at the voting records of the 13 current Irish MEPs over the last five years. There were two personnel changes, both early in the parliamentary term.

Chris MacManus replaced Matt Carthy following the Monaghan man’s election to Dáil Éireann in January 2020, while Colm Markey joined the parliament in November 2020 to replace Mairead McGuinness, who in turn succeeded Phil Hogan as Ireland’s European Commissioner.

We look at nine votes that were important for agriculture, what was at stake and how each MEP voted.

1 Nature Restoration Law

This February, the parliament voted narrowly in favour of the Nature Restoration Law proposals, which included an EU-wide commitment to restore 30% of habitats by 2030, with a 60% target for 2040 and a 90% for 2050.

Under “exceptional circumstances” provisions for agricultural ecosystems could be temporarily suspended. Regarded as a compromise proposal, it was supported by 11 Irish MEPs. Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan and Chris MacManus, both from the region most affected by these proposals, both voted against it.

2 Sustainable Use Regulation (SUR)

This proposed change in pesticide control was voted down in parliament, by a combination of right-of-centre MEPs who thought it went too far, and left-wing MEPs who felt it didn’t go far enough.

Eight Irish MEPs, Barry Andrews, Deirdre Clune, Frances Fitzgerald, Billy Kelleher, Seán Kelly, Colm Markey, Chris MacManus and Maria Walsh, supported it, while Ciaran Cuffe, Clare Daly, Luke Ming Flanagan, Grace O’Sullivan and Mick Wallace opposed it.

3 New Zealand Trade Agreement

This was the major third country trade agreement presented to this parliament, apart from the obvious.

Nine supported it, with Daly, Flanagan, MacManus, and Wallace opposed to it.

4 UK withdrawal implementation report

Brexit ran right through this parliament’s lifespan. The latest major vote was a year ago, when all 13 Irish MEPs supported the proposal.

The parliament, like the European Commission, has consistently supported Ireland during the Brexit negotiations, and Ireland’s MEPs have been of one voice on this issue at least.

5 Food security following the Russian invasion of Ukraine

The European Parliament has been very vocal on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, hardly a surprise when Ukraine borders four European countries (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania) and Russia itself borders five (Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia).

On 24 March 2022, one month after the invasion, as fertiliser, fuel and feed prices skyrocketed, there was real concern for food security, both within the EU and globally.

A proposal recognising that was carried by 413 votes to 120, with 49 abstentions and 123 MEPs not voting.

The Irish MEPs split eight to five, voting identically to the SUR vote.

6 Brexit Adjustment Reserve and UK/EU equivalence on field inspections and agricultural varieties checks

There was a wide variety of votes to deal with the many implications of Brexit.

In March 2021, two of these were passed by the European Parliament.

One concerned the establishment of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, the other related to ensuring equivalence for inspections.

Again, all 13 Irish MEPs supported it.


The decisive vote on CAP reform in the European Parliament was in November 2021. This was the month after Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue had announced the Irish CAP proposal, which he was explaining to farmers, many of them angry, at mart meetings across the country.

The reform package, with CRISS, convergence, and eco schemes, had come in no small part from the parliament’s agriculture committee, where Chris MacManus and Luke Ming Flanagan had supported full flattening of area-based payments, while Colm Markey had supported minimal convergence of existing payments.

The final package was supported by all Irish MEPs except Green Party MEPs Cuffe and O’Sullivan, and the Independents for Change pair of Daly and Wallace.

8 Climate law

In October 2020, the European Parliament voted in favour of a union-wide 60% emissions reduction target for 2030, and for net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, with negative emissions post-2050.

Twelve Irish MEPs voted on this proposal, and all were in favour.

Mairead McGuinness, who had been selected to replace Phil Hogan as Commissioner, did not vote, with her replacement Colm Markey not in place until the following month.